Charlotte K Stewart

Writer, Reader, Knitter, Artist


Nano Prep

Nanowrimo 2018

I wasn’t sure about committing to this November’s National Novel Writing Month (nano). I have so much going on. I’ll get into that another day.

Last year I signed up and didn’t actively try to “win;” I had too much going on and didn’t feel like spending energy on one more thing. No matter how much I liked the idea of the story I’d wanted to write. December hit and I felt like a failure.

This year, I’m caving to peer pressure, at least somewhat. The writing group I’ve been most active in this year has members fired up about nano. And, I do feel connected to both the nano process and my writing group.

I logged in, created my novel project, and even designed a book cover. To my surprise, my bestie (who hadn’t done nano before, that I know of, but who is a member of my writing group)- joined and set up her novel project, too! We even worked together on a cover design for it.

Whether or not I win (of course, this year I’ll try!), it’s going to be more fun to do than it will be “work.” At least, that’s the plan.

Happy Halloween & NaNoWriMo Eve.

It’s not my favorite holiday, in fact, I don’t really classify it as a holiday. It’s fun to dress up if that’s in the cards. I always enjoyed that part, along with the candy part. Not being social where I live now makes it harder to like any of this stuff, honesty. And, even my favorite real holidays are a challenge without friends nearby, or someone to go with me to any type of events. I know I sound old and crotchety, but it is actually for many valid reasons. I’m not too old, in the scheme of things. My life situation makes it seem like I am, though. I don’t have a significant other or spouse, no kids, so… it is just the way it’s worked out. Which is not even close to half my decision. And, it sucks.

I’m looking forward to nanowrimo. I have my medical and life appointments set on my calendar. My mail is organized. My knitting projects are queued up, some to have the finishing touches done, like weaving in ends, blocking, adding notions, etc. My laptop is updated, the mobile devices fully charged. A few notebooks and writing implements are assembled, in case they are needed or we have a power outage. The weather has been psycho, but today it’s sunny and comfortable enough to wear a sweatshirt. Junk food and healthy snacks are loaded.

I hope to be better about posting here, especially to track my progress with my new organization and planning system, as well as my nanowrimo project.

One of the cats turns 3 tomorrow. She is excited, because we make a cake and she licks the frosting. It’s a rare event, and since we didn’t think she would live past the first month, we take extra care to celebrate her birthdays.


NaNoWriMo is Coming

November starts in two days. I am – and am not – ready for this year’s nano. I have other big projects that start on the same day. My health has been lower than the usual, fairly low, holding pattern I exist within. I have multiple goals for the next month, and zero energy.

I trashed the project I had hoped to do for this year’s nano. Maybe not actually “trashed,” but stuck it inside a box, in the back of the file cabinet inside my mind. I may use the lead female character for a future project, or change her around and give her the spotlight down the road. But, not this November.

I am taking the day off. I will write later tonight, because I write every day. I am counting this post as writing, and I will get some things down on my WIP tonight. However, my brain is overloaded, and today my body is screaming at me.


Some rest is needed before I face the next month and work on plodding through the rest of the prep work for those, tomorrow.

I also have a big appointment on Thursday, which has me stressed out. I will do what I need to do between now and then, and I hope after that is in my rear-view, I might have less trepidation about the next few months. That will be a refreshing sensation (I say, after going through this several times already).

I’m off to watch my NASCAR race. There less than a handful left in my favorite series with my favorite driver in the field.

Ciao. Happy Sunday.


My Nano Novel Has a Name and a Cover

I made a title for my nano project. I am calling it Hold the Dressing. And, I used a free site to fashion my own photographed image into a basic book cover. It was easy and fast, which is what I needed. I might change the title, eventually. And, the cover is nothing special that I am firmly attached to. However, having these steps marked off my to-do list, and having the visual evidence that I created these things will assist me in meeting my goal for this year. I will get my 50,000 words before November 30th. And, I will finish the story, no matter the date. No matter the total word count. I will FINISH my draft. That will be a first for me, as far as nano is concerned. That, afterall, is the true purpose of NaNoWriMo. It isn’t just about cramming 50,000 words inside of a 30-day time frame. That is the beginning, not the end. I view the main goal as building a daily habit, a routine, of writing. I already have that going on. I’ve been doing that for more than two solid years, with my main WIP. Nano, for me, will help me to focus on more than one WIP, simultaneously. One of which will get finished. One will be a start-to-finish, cover-t0-cover, First Draft. Something I can edit and, perhaps, get the guts up to try and put out into the world somewhere other than on a no-cost website. Not sure on that one, just yet. It’s in my head, though. I want people to love the stories I write half as much as I do. That would be something.

It all starts with a name, and with a cover. Tangible piecess that will come together to decorate my work and make my project feel real.

I Set Up NaNoWriMo in Scrivener

I wish  I could say I did more than this today. I am not over this migraine, and my doctor thinks my flu shot reaction is still happening. I have to go get checked out Tuesday if I’m not all better by then. The one other thing I did get accomplished today was work on my writing notebook/bullet journal. I have a few more things to do, to get it the way I envision. I think it’s kind of snazzy for my first try, though.

I will write more tomorrow. My head hurts too much to focus here.


So Much for Today

Today was terrible. I barely slept. I kept the TV on all night, which was a mistake. I can’t sleep with it on. I was waiting to see what Hurricane Matthew did, though. I have family and friends in its path. I worried and watched, until I could not stay awake any longer. I kept waking up, checking the Weather Channel, and dozing off again. When I woke sometime after daylight, my head hurt worse than it had, again. I loaded up on Excedrin Migraine and burrowed back into my nest.

Sometime in the afternoon, I emerged. I had to pretend to be productive, for a few hours. I made some food, I wrote a few e-mails, and I laid around, aching and miserable.

I wrote this entry, I attended a live webinar, I did a load of laundry. That is about all I did today.

Tomorrow, I should have the place to myself. I will read tonight before going to sleep. I will write more tomorrow, and work on my big WIP. I also will set up Scrivener for my nano project, creating character cards and a chapter outline to help when November 1 arrives.

Today I Fell Short

I wanted to write today. I wanted to finish the chapter I’m working on of my ongoing WIP fanfic, plus add to character sketches I’m doing ahead of Nano. Well, I got nothing done. Nothing fun or creative, anyway.

I did manage to get out of bed and go to my doctor’s appointment, but that feels like all I did.

I’m going to write for an hour before I read one short chapter, then it will be bedtime. Another appointment, and other things to steal my writing energy, tomorrow.

Better blog posts later in the week, I hope…

Created my Nano Novel

It’s October 1st. One month countdown to nano. The site was down for maintenance, then, a few hours later, it was possible to create a novel. Or, more correctly, add the information that is basically the placeholder for said novel.

I don’t have a title yet. I made a one sentence summary, put that on the site and I’ll continue working on some prep tasks as I can this month.

Today, I have not felt well at all, which doesn’t make writing or anything else easy. I hope my migraine dissipates by tomorrow.


Planning My NaNoWriMo Project

Every year at this time, I begin to get a combined anxiety and excitement. November 1-30 is what legions of writers around the globe know as National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo. Or, for people who’ve done it multiple times, simply “Nano.”

It’s a time of creating something new. Whether it’s a completely new story or idea, a new set of characters, or adding new twists to an existing work-in-progress (WIP), this is a time to set forth with a goal of creating, in essence, enough words to (almost) constitute a novel. 50,000 words, 30 days. No problem, right? Well…

It can be daunting to think of sitting down and completing this word count inside of 30 days, in general. Especially, if you have not done it before. I have attempted it several times. I’ve “won” a few times, too. I have built myself a habit of writing every day, in some fashion. Consequently, achieving the word count (WC) is not too tough on me, if it’s the only thing I have to do in November. Of course, as for most people, life does not stop for one task for the span of an entire month. There are real life matters that clamor for attention, as well.

While I don’t have children, I have family members who need my attention or assistance. I need to do laundry, deal with errands and meals, and get to appointments. If it was *only* writing for 30 days, 24/7, sure, NO problemo! However, this is not the case for me.

I must MAKE the time to sit and write each day. I have to make it a priority. I enjoy writing, so that is not a problem. It’s the other noise of life that creeps in and threatens that creative zone. This last part is true of my life, in general, not solely for November. Then, you add in things like holidays and other interests one might have. You get the idea.

In anticipation of what awaits for me in November, and the goal I would like to achieve (for ME, not for anyone else), I begin my thinking and planning for Nano in September. I have waited until the last minute in the past. Especially the first year I attempted Nano. I had not heard of it until that particular year. And, when did I hear about it? You guessed it: on Day One, November 1st. I sat down and began typing, but I did not win that first year.

The next year, I vowed that I would at least make a basic outline prior to November 1st. I think I wrote down a one-sentence plot summary, and a name for my Main Character (MC). I did win that year.

The past few years, when I’ve attempted and won Nano, my formula has been variable. I’ve won each time I’ve signed onto the website and made myself accountable.

This year, I have planned a character sketch for my MC, her name is Catalina Rivera. I have an idea of the basic setting of the story’s beginning.I have a year, a time-frame, a city and her home in mind. I have the primary antagonist, the major conflict or incident that will occur, and a few possible resolutions in mind.

I hope having these aspects nailed down, just over a month out from the start of Nano month, will help me win this year’s attempt. I’ll let you know, after November!

Catalina has two black cats, based on the one pictured. Their names are Ebony and Onyx.



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